Thursday, November 12, 2009


What is with corporate America’s love of acronyms and odd business-speak? I suppose some person thought they were being highly efficient by slicing phrases and titles down to just a few letters, thus making the best use of the precious resource of time, but is time truly being saved if I have to spend a significant part of my day consulting the cheat-sheets that surround my workspace just to decipher a memo?

Additionally, is the strength, clarity, and quality of what we are trying to communicate becoming watered down? Telling me the “RMT prepped the USET before the GLTM” calls to mind extra-terrestrial activity, which is probably not the point you are trying to get across.

I’m not foolish enough to believe this issue will ever disappear completely, and to be honest, a small part of me enjoys it, especially when I ask a person to explain an acronym they are throwing around and they sheepishly tell me that they themselves are unsure of the meaning. I appreciate those comedy breaks.

But because I care about you, my fellow Americans, here are a few steps I will be sure to enforce once I come into leadership.

1. Jargon will be standardized across industries. ML can no longer be used as Market Leader at one firm, Managing Leader at another, and Mystery Lunch at a third.

2. Guides will be given to all new employees and HR will discuss them thoroughly. If adequately compensated, I am willing to pull these guides together and go on a national speaking tour explaining them. Again, this is because I care.

3. Every CEO will be called The Big Kahuna.

4. If an employee uses terms that they are unable to explain, they are required to buy lunch for the grieved party. If it happens a second-time, their paycheck will be docked. On the third strike, Chuck Norris will hit verbally-unruly employee with a roundhouse kick.


Molly said...

Not to wax theological on you, but I think Christians tend to do this a lot. An 'acronym' is useful, even to the person who doesn't know what the letters stand for, beause its meaning equals something more than those letters. Similarly, Christians tend to use jargon and then take for granted that everyone knows what the heck we're talking about. Things like "born again" and "saved" definitely fit into this category.

Susan said...

Christianese can even confuse me, and I've been in the church my entire life!